So I was going to save this part for the end of all my kitchen posts. Then I realized I can’t talk about anything that we used in the kitchen without actually giving the whole thing away.
And I want to talk about the appliances, the sink and the realization that tiling is my husbands now least favourite thing since having had to paint our entire house white. And he will get to do that again soon (more about that later) but in the meantime, please feast your eyes on the kitchen we spent 5 years living with.
I know there are lots of arguments for that ‘in between’ reno. The Refresh if you will, so you can tolerate living with the kitchen that you have, until you can save your money to actually gut it and do a full reno. Painting the cabinets. Changing your countertops. But with us it just snowballed into this, let’s see how bad it can get before we get tired of living with it mentality. And we were busy renovating the basement and the deck as well as a million other projects to turn the house around. That and I despise curved cabinets so painting them would not have made me like them better. Apologies to all you fans of them (and I know lots of my friends love them) they’re just not for me. Kind of like double bowl sinks. Read about that debate here.
Without further ado – THE KITCHEN BEFORE PHOTOS
Seriously, just looking at the epic disaster of those pics above gives my OCD hives. Because yes that is a box of KD in the corner of one shot.
And this is THE KITCHEN AFTER
Even the ghostie orbs came out for the photoshoot (Ok it was really sunny…)
It’s clean. It’s open concept. It’s bright. It’s modern.
If you visit my Decor page in my Project Gallery, you’ll see that the kitchen also flows with the rest of the projects and decor aesthetic throughout our home. Truth be told, we do like a little bit rustic (well my husband does) but it just didn’t suit the feel of this particular house. You’ll also notice that it’s very minimal in its design. That is intentional. After living with years of clutter above, we wanted a spot for everything to be stored out of sight.
Kitchen Cabinet doors we used – the VEDDINGE line.
We went back and forth between shaker style and flat front cabinet doors and the reason we went with flat front is two fold – aside from the obvious renovation challenge of every couple and that is finances and this thing called a budget.
1) They’re easier to clean. At least for me. I’ve lived with shaker doors for well over half my life and while I LOVE the look of them, it is inevitable that I will not get on top of cleaning all the dust that falls into the grooves of the shaker doors in time. Sorry I have to be truthful here. If they were the darker fronts, I could deal better. But with white, you see dust and grease and I have tried and failed at keeping up appearances on them. With these, you spray and wipe and you are done.
2) The SEKTION line does offer a Shaker door style – the GRIMSLÖV – but for some reason they introduced them in an Off White/Cream colour vs a Bright White and in real life it was really disappointing to see them after the beautiful ADEL doors. Why IKEA changed the shades slightly is beyond me but they’re not the same thing. Go in person and compare. So we went with the VEDDINGE doors instead.
Products we used in the kitchen:
4″ x 16″ white subway tile (made way more sense than the smaller size tiles) complimented the flow of the drawer cabinets and L shape of the kitchen.
The stainless steel backsplash behind the oven is from INOXIA and we picked that up at Home Depot.
Lessons and Tips that we learned:
- Order all your cabinets and pieces before you tear apart or demo your kitchen. Repeat that to sentence to yourself again. We waited over 5 months for a huge chunk of the drawer fronts, all of which IKEA reps assured me would be in stock within 2 weeks. What they didn’t count on was the demand for the SEKTION kitchen at the time that it launched and the manufacturer of the items couldn’t keep up with demand. Then when they arrived, they arrived in tiny shipments to various IKEA’s all around the country. There were a lot of angry people online. So before you so much as remove as hinge or a screw in your existing kitchen, make sure you have all the parts at your home.
- If you’re using butcher block, open the package while you’re at the IKEA store (unless you’re getting it shipped). The butcher block can fit into the back of your average pick up truck hortizontally (yes this includes the 98″ long piece). The reason we suggest to opening the end of the box, is it will tell you fairly quickly if it is warped. Wood as we all know, can warp. We discovered one of our pieces did after it arrived (we initially had it shopped) and had to go exchange it…and it was also temporarily sold out (see point #1 again). This way you it will save you the headache of returning it. Someone else had the same issue with their warped counter as we did and you can read their story in the comments of my Staining Butcher Block lessons post.
- The butcher block edges are curved. Therefore if you want to have a clean/as close as possible seam between your butcher block pieces (if you have a long counter and need more than once piece) DO NOT put the curved edges together. Filling that with wood filler will cause you nightmares. Use the curved edges at the ends and any cut pieces together. Ask me how I know. Can you spot it in the photo? That almost caused a divorce.
- Get the drawers on the bottom. Having now lived with this kitchen with drawer cabinets at the bottom, I’d be hard pressed to go back to regular vertical bottom cabinets. Drawers hold everything. EVERYTHING. You truly do get more space having those deep drawers. You can also get the drawers within the traditional vertical cabinet doors on the front if you prefer that look but you will however lose an inch or so of drawer space. And believe me, big cereal boxes mean that extra side inch of storage space helps.
- IKEA sells push open door hinges called the BESTA. So if you’re wondering why we don’t have handles on the top cabinets, it’s because they’re push hinges. So all you have to do is gently tap the door to open it and it pops open.
- By all means use the IKEA kitchen planner to plan out your kitchen layout. You can spend days on there trying out hundreds of combos.
- Sit down with a kitchen representative at least once. You can plan your kitchen on your IKEA Kitchen planner at home all you want, but they will definitely help with the finer details that you maybe didn’t know you could include or offer suggestions on what types of cabinets or filler pieces you may need. Highly recommend this.
- If you can wait til they have their Kitchen Event then seriously wait. We got back a big chunk of money for every 1000 we spent in there.
- The hanging rail system does make things easier than the old one – read how we installed it here.
- If you have a pick up location and a truck or a friend who has a truck, seriously take advantage of this and get your entire kitchen shipped closer to home for a mere $20.
One of the first questions we got asked when our friends and family saw it for the first time was “Are you putting something up on the walls next to range hood?” Well, we went back and forth on that and it was something that we were going to see how it felt down the line. One of the initial reasons we didn’t put anything up was because I truly hated washing dishes in that old kitchen and having that feeling of cabinets hanging over my head. Everything felt so closed in and it felt like a prison cell. It’s one of those things that falls under the age old advice of “live in a space before you renovate it” so that you can get a feel of what you like and don’t like about specific room so you’ll know what to change. That is one of them. That whole open wall makes me so happy right now because it is, to be blunt, breathing room. And it feels so great when you’re standing there cooking.
Now, if we were staying in this house, then maybe down the line we would have added some shelves.
Did you catch that? “if we were staying in this house.”
Yeah. See a funny thing happened at the same time that we finished the kitchen renovation (which took five months longer than we anticipated) and that is, a house came up for sale in our town. A house on a street in a model that we’ve always said we wanted. And it sat on the market. And sat and sat and sat. Like a good Dr. Seuss book would say. And we even missed our first viewing for it and it still sat. And then we went to see it and we understood why. While the bones are great and exterior is this perfect red brick farmhouse meets Victorian style home, it needs a full room by room renovation. We’re talking no updates of anything in over 20 years. Green walls. Old roof. Laminate floor so shiny you can figure skate on it. Dark purple walls. Dark green walls. Carpet. Stucco. It is a lot and I mean a lot of work and not many people wanted to tackle that.
Except us crazy kids. Because that home is what we want to be our long term home. So we put in an offer under asking and were shocked when it was accepted.
That led to putting this house up for sale and less than a week on the market later (though a very stressful one), we had a Sold sign on our front lawn. So yeah. I get to enjoy this kitchen or rather have gotten to enjoy this finished kitchen for a grand total of a month, possible two?
And if you think our old kitchen in the before photos was terrible, wait until you see the one we have to renovate in the new place. I honestly don’t have the words. I’ll just have to show you in photos in the future. On the bright side it will be one of the first renovations we do and that kitchen is going to be a different one from this one.
I’ve already started adding ideas to my Pinterest board and my husband is pretending I don’t send him texts about it with links all the time. Black kitchen cabinets anyone? Our next kitchen will be very different from this one.
Want to read about the whole process and see the Before and After?
Part 1 of the Kitchen Reno story: The Beginning
Part 2 of the Kitchen Reno story: Installing your IKEA SEKTION Kitchen
Part 3 of the Kitchen Reno story: Adventures in Staining Butcher Block
Part 4 of the Kitchen Reno story: The IKEA SEKTION kitchen, Before and After